Before the Damming of the Elwha Valley:

The Elwha River freely flowed in a Northwest temperate forest brimming with life. Diverse wildlife roamed the valley. The most amazing animal that swam the river was the giant salmon. Native American lore tells of so many salmon that a person could walk across the river on their backs, and their giant size of up to 100lb made them the largest salmon ever recorded. Many footprints have traveled to the river's edge for refreshment of both body and spirit. This balanced relationship existed in harmony until 1910 when construction began on the first dam to help power the logging operations in the area. Upon its completion in 1913, the desired power from the dam now changed the harmonious relationships on the river's edge. Another dam was completed in the 1920's which compounded the situation.

After the Damming of the Elwha River:

The damming of the river created two lakes above the dams. These lakes took up massive acreage once walkable by man and wildlife. Power-generated from the dams resulted in an era of prosperity for the logging industry in the community. People in the community also enjoyed recreational activities on the lakes. However, the dams also caused some hardships. The Native American nation worked together to cope with this situation to maintain their culture and traditions surrounding the river. Salmon disappeared from the Elwha River Valley below the dams.

The Elwha Valley current issue

The dams are on schedule to be removed within the next three years. The lumber mill has agreed to find alternative methods of power; the city of Port Angeles will find alternative reserves for a water supply not dependent on the lakes. Community members, Native American tribal members, and government agencies are currently discussing land and water use issues.

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